At the beginning of the 20th century, when 12-string guitars first appeared in the United States, the instruments were considered novelty items, curiosities, freaks of guitar making that were beneath the dignity of serious companies like Martin and Gibson. But when Blind Willie McTell picked up a Stella 12-string in 1927, and then basically never put it down, the instrument was suddenly legitimized.

A folk singer named Huddie Ledbetter, better known as Lead Belly, had actually made the Stella 12-string his own earlier, in 1912, but Lead Belly had so many scrapes with the law and spent so much time in prison that he wouldn’t get a chance to popularize the ringing tones of the 12-string until the 1930s and ’40s. Even then, his biggest hit, “Good Night Irene,” came after his death in 1949.

Pete Seeger and the Weavers kept the 12-string sound alive until the 1960s, when groups like the Rooftop Singers (“Walk Right In”) made it the go-to instrument on the commercial folk scene. Gibson was ready with its B-45 in 1961 and its B-25 in 1962, while Martin got on board a bit later with its D12-20 in 1964 and D12-35 in 1965.

The loudest noise in 12-strings, though, was made by Rickenbacker, thanks to a custom, one-of-a-kind 12-string version of its 325 hollowbody electric guitar made in 1964 for John Lennon of the Beatles. George Harrison also became a Rickenbacker acolyte, playing his Rickenbacker 360 12-string on songs like "A Hard Day’s Night."

One musician who liked that sound a lot was Roger McGuinn of the Byrds. Reportedly, he bought a 360-12 after seeing the movie named after of the famous Beatles song. He went on to play a 12-string on one of the Byrds’ biggest hits, “Turn Turn Turn.”

By the late 1970s, newer companies like Taylor made acoustic 12-strings part of their lines. Once again, a key musician would cement the instrument's sound in our collective soundtrack. In this case it was Neil Young who, while vacationing in Florida, purchased a Taylor 12-string, an 855, at a local music shop. Young liked his 855 so much he ordered a second, and Taylor subsequently gained widespread recognition when Young’s 855 figured prominently in his concert film, "Rust Never Sleeps."


Best of the Web (“Hall of Fame”)

Vintage Guitars Info

Vintage Guitars Info

This great reference site features detailed sections on vintage guitar makers, including Gibson, Fender, Martin, Gr… [read review or visit site]

Vintage Guitar and Bass

Vintage Guitar and Bass

Want to see all the old brochures and ads for your favorite vintage axe? Check out this great site, which showcases… [read review or visit site]



Clubs & Associations

Other Great Reference Sites

Most watched eBay auctions    

Ibanez Artcore Ag-85Vintage 1961 Gibson B-25n 12-string Acoustic W / Case! Very Nice! No Reserve!!!!Martin Custom X 12 String Acoustic/elec. Project Guitar For Parts Or Repair. NrGuild F-2512e Maple - Natural 12-string Acoustic-electric Guitar Sold As IsOvation - Legend 1866 - 12 String - Right Hand - Accoustic Electric Guitar As-isOvation Adamas 12 String Acoustic/electric Guitar Model:15981988 Rickenbacker 370/12rm Roger Mcguinn 12 String Guitar New 12 String Tobacco Sunburst Finish Teardrop Electric GuitarEpiphone 12 String Acoustic Guitar Great Player .99 Cent Start N/rGuild D212 12 String Acoustic Guitar, 1984 Model, With Original Case, Tom Petty New Red Double Neck 12 & 6 String Sg Vintage Style Electric Guitar & Case70’s Vintage Ernie Ball Music Man Stingray I Electric Guitar 12" Radius Neck !!!New Semi Hollow Tobacco Burst Tele Style 12 String Electric Guitar- Stl 180-12s New 12 String Strat Style Sunburst Electric Guitar-12s-3ts New 12 String Electric Solid Natural Tele Guitar2017 Strat Style Zebra Zebrano 12 String Electric Guitar Seagull S12+ 12-string Rh Acoustic GuitarKtone Black 6/12 String Electric Double Neck Guitar - No ReserveDimarzio Billy Corgan Loaded Strat Pickguard Black / Black + Back Plate!Rare Super Adamas Acoustic Twelve String Guitar 1688-9 Ovation ElectricHarmony 12 String Neck + 5 Harmony Fretboards / FingerboardsCarlo Robelli 12 String Bass GuitarTakamine G Jumbo Eg523sc-12 Acoustic/electric GuitarDo It Yourself 12 String Electric Tele Guitar-solid Empress Body & Maple NeckOvation 1655 Balladeer Custom 12-string Acoustic Electric Guitar In Hard CaseAlvarez Pj85sc/12 Dvs, 12 String Acoustic / ElectricTaylor 12 String Guitar Model 750 New In The Box 12 String Strat Style Sunburst Electric Guitar 12 String GuitarSeagull Coastline Cedar Acoustic Electric Guitar S12Harmony - Stella 12-string Acoustic Guitar (as Is, Please Read Description)Ovation 12 String Guitar Acoustic/electric*video* New 2016 Tele Style 12 String Electric Guitar Thin-line Semi-hollow BodyCaline P1 Guitar Pedal Board Effect Power Supply Isolated Output 9v 12v 18vVintage 1980s Ibanez V302 12 String Acoustic Guitar 82020898t W/ Case Japan MadeVintage Japanese 1987 Fender F-360s-12 Acoustic Guitar 12-string! No Reserve!!!Celestion Alnico G12 Gold - Made In EnglandBlue 12 String Cozart Thinline Semi Hollow Body Electric Guitar10 Isolated Output 9v 12v 18v Guitar Pedal Board Power Supply Effect PedalsBridge Off A Rickenbacker 360/12E-ros 12 String Mod. 612 Nevada Garanzia ItalyTakamine Gd30ce-12 Dreadnought 12-string Acoustic/electric Guitar W/caseVintage Yamaha Fg-230 12-string Nippon Gakki Red Label Solid TopOvation 1758 Elite 12 StringCustom Made Cozart 12 String Electric Guitar Santos Rosewood Stl01-12 818Benson Custom Esquire Telecaster Hot 12k Bridge Pickup W/ Steel PlateBenson Custom Hand Wound 12k Alnico 2 Strat Bridge Pickup ....p-90 TonesVintage 1968 Gibson Guitar Price List 12 PagesSimon And Patrick Woodland 12 SpruceConn 12 String GuitarRoadie Pedal Board Hard Road Case 24" X 12" (inside)Rare 12 String Tele Style Electric Guitar, Birds Eye Maple Top50pcs Guitar Bass Pickup Springs Tower Shape Chrome Nickel Sliver 12*6.5-4.5mm